and not-so-hard science. The gray whale migration has reached Alaska, according to the Journey North Gray Whales page.
While we weren't looking, the tenth planet was officially defined as a dwarf planet (in the re-classification decision that also demoted Pluto to the same status) and was formally named Eris (pronounded EE-ris). Too bad it couldn't stay Xena.
On its way by Jupiter, the New Horizons Pluto Mission got a fabulous portrait of Jupiter's moons Europa and Io, showing volcanic plumes on Io's rim. They took this one just for pretty, a space enthusiast having suggested it to them as an image that would be possible to capture along the spacecraft's path. That's Tvashtar volcano whose plume is so large it is visible even in this thumbnail image. Earlier the New Horizons scientists released some nice atmospheric detail from Jupiter.
Here on earth, a research vessel, the RSS James Cook, is studying the mid-Atlantic Ridge and a curiously missing bit of the earth's crust. An interview with the lead scientist turned up on Living on Earth.
And, just lovely, if not exactly science: watch the Multiple Kite World Champion Record Holder demonstrate a bodily grasp of physics that would do a Quidditch player proud.